• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 11, No 7 (2020)

Hydrodeoxygenation of Vegetable Oil in a Trickle Bed Reactor for Renewable Diesel Production

Hydrodeoxygenation of Vegetable Oil in a Trickle Bed Reactor for Renewable Diesel Production

Title: Hydrodeoxygenation of Vegetable Oil in a Trickle Bed Reactor for Renewable Diesel Production
Yuswan Muharam, Jessica Adeline Soedarsono

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Cite this article as:
Muharam, Y., Soedarsono, J.A. 2020. Hydrodeoxygenation of Vegetable Oil in a Trickle Bed Reactor for Renewable Diesel Production. International Journal of Technology. Volume 11(7), pp. 1292-1299

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Yuswan Muharam Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Jessica Adeline Soedarsono Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
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Abstract
Hydrodeoxygenation of Vegetable Oil in a Trickle Bed Reactor for Renewable Diesel Production

The hydrodeoxygenation of vegetable oil in a trickle bed reactor for renewable diesel production was observed in this research. Vegetable oil was represented by triolein. The NiMo/Al2O3 catalyst with a composition of 6.13% w/w Ni, 12.49% w/w Mo, and 81.33% w/w Al2O3 was used. The reactions took place in the temperature range of 272-327.5°C and pressures of 5 and 15 bar. A trickle bed reactor of 2.01 cm in diameter and 24 cm in bed length was able to convert triolein into renewable diesel. C18 hydrocarbons became the dominant reacting compounds at temperatures above 310°C and a pressure of 15 bar, which reached more than 50% w/w. At 5 bar pressure, fatty acids with stearic acid as the acid with the highest concentration were the dominant reacting component, reaching more than 60% w/w at temperatures above 280°C. This led to double bond saturation once the reactants were mixed.

Hydrodeoxygenation; Renewable diesel; Trickle bed reactor

Introduction

The Fuel is one of the basic needs for transportation and industry, which mostly comes from petroleum processing (fossil-based). Economic oil reserves are depleting, while energy demand continues to increase with population size and advancing technology. Moreover, fossil fuel produces a high content of carbon dioxide in its combustion (Pinzi and Dorado, 2012). Currently, the world consumes around 13 TW of energy each year, and 80% of it is obtained from fossil fuels. Seeing the energy demand and opportunity of the chemical industry’s rapid growth in converting hydrocarbon into chemical products, it was projected that in the future, the energy sector will be dominated by renewable fuel. In 2030, renewable fuel is targeted to increase four times compared to that in 2010 (Douvartzides et al., 2019).

        Furthermore, renewable fuel is more environmentally friendly in terms of emissions. Currently, renewable diesel is one of the most rapidly developed renewable resources since its characteristics are similar to petrodiesel, and its cetane number is high. It consists of straight-chain alkanes in the range of diesel fuel (C15-C18). In addition to its advantages, the cost to produce renewable diesel is becoming more competitive with that of fossil fuels.  This  shows that shifting  from  fossil fuel  domination to  renewable energy  will indirectly have a positive economic impact (Setiawan and Asvial, 2016).

Renewable diesel is produced from vegetable oil. Triglycerides are the main component of vegetable oil, but its high viscosity and instability requires it to be treated before use. Among all processes, hydrotreating is the most advanced method from the point of view of technology and research due to its product characteristics and ability to utilize existing systems in oil refinery (Holmgren, 2007).

In hydrotreating, vegetable oil as a feed reacts with hydrogen gas. Hydrogen binds with oxygen in the triglyceride; therefore, it is called hydrodeoxygenation and produces alkanes with the same carbon number as its feed. Catalysts with active sites of nickel and molybdenum are frequently used (Kubi?ka et al., 2010; Bezergianni and Dimitriadis, 2013). However, most research favors using molybdenum as an active site, such as that by Gong et al. (2012). They carried out hydrodeoxygenation using vegetable oil with a NiMoP/Al2O3 catalyst and molybdenum as an active site, producing long chain alkanes with a renewable diesel range. Attanatho (2012) had a 99.7% conversion and 26.25% hydrodeoxygenation.

Understanding the importance of effective production of renewable diesel, research and development needs to be performed further. In this research, triolein was used as a model compound. Triolein with oleic acid as its fatty acid compound experiences hydrogenolysis to become fatty acid and fatty alcohol. Both are intermediate to produce long-chain alkanes with a selective deoxygenation process. Triolein was chosen because of its fatty acid composition, C18:1, which is the fatty acid of the highest composition in most vegetable oils. Moreover, using a model compound allows a thorough understanding of reaction pathways.

       In this research, hydrodeoxygenation was carried out in a trickle bed reactor, which is a three-phase fixed bed reactor under a trickle flow regime. It has a lower pressure drop and higher conversion compared to other fixed bed reactor types. Compared to continuous stirred tanks, reactor trickle bed reactors do not require mechanical agitation so they consume less energy (Wu and Tu, 2016). The hydrodeoxygenation of vegetable oil in a trickle bed reactor has the advantages of high production, easy process control, and no product separation from the catalyst. The drawback is the clogging of the catalyst pores for high concentrations of vegetable oil. Previous research on using trickle bed reactors for renewable diesel production using triolein has only been carried out by Muharam and Nugraha (2017) via simulation, which aimed to observe the optimum conditions in real practice for further improvement. The objective of the present research was to observe renewable diesel production based on triolein in a trickle bed reactor using a NiMo/Al2O3 catalyst.


Conclusion

        Hydrodeoxygenation of vegetable oil represented by triolein for renewable diesel production was investigated in a trickle bed reactor of 2.01 cm in diameter and 24 cm in bed length. C18 hydrocarbons became dominant reacting compounds at temperatures above 310°C and a pressure of 15 bar, which reached more than 50% w/w. At 5 bar pressure, fatty acids with stearic acid as the acid with the highest concentration were the dominant reacting component, reaching more than 60% w/w at temperatures above 280°C. This led to double bond saturation once the reactants mixed. 

Acknowledgement

    We express our gratitude to Universitas Indonesia, which funded this research through the scheme of Publikasi Terindeks Internasional (PUTI) Prosiding Tahun Anggaran 2020 Nr NKB-1194/UN2.RST/HKP.05.00/2020.

Supplementary Material
FilenameDescription
R1-CE-4491-20201130205258.jpg Figure 1
R1-CE-4491-20201130205310.jpg Figure 2
R1-CE-4491-20201130205320.JPG Figure 3
R1-CE-4491-20201130205332.JPG Figure 4
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